Drexel University Creates Spray-On Antennas

Drexel University Materials Science and Engineering Department has developed a flexible antenna that can be affixed to a wide range of devices.

The antenna is much smaller than the average antenna on televisions, radios and on top of cars. In fact, it can be as small as one-thousandth the thickness of a piece of paper. It is a combination of metals with carbon or nitrogen atoms called MXenes, which can be combined with a number of other metals, such as titanium, molybdenum, vanadium and niobium.

Researchers at Drexel University recently discovered that mixing MXenes and water creates an adhesive coating and allows the antenna to stick to any surface. This is expected to transform where antennas are placed and how it can be used.

MXenes were discovered at Drexel in 2011 and have since been tested by researchers all throughout the world. There were many successes such as cancer treatment, water filtration, structural reinforcement, gas separation, energy storage devices, and electromagnetic interference shielding.

The extensive research revealed that MXenes are transparent to light, chemically strong and stable, electronically conductive, and love water. Drexel’s discovery of MXenes is projected to be much more effective at transmitting messages due to the antenna’s flexible and adhesive material.

Drexel was ranked the 52nd university in the world for utility patents that cover new products. Drexel is one of nearly 100 colleges and universities in the region driving innovation and growth for Greater Philadelphia.